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Soundposts

A blog for Seattle music lovers of all stripes, from hip-hop and indie rock to jazz and world music.

January 15, 2015 at 2:00 PM

Patti Smith, rock poet on a tear | Concert preview

There are few artists in rock ’n’ roll, particularly ones in their late 60s, who are on quite the tear that Patti Smith has been on the last decade.

She’s put out an acclaimed late-career album (“Banga”), won the National Book Award for her memoir “Just Kids,” continued to publish books of poetry and has been elected to the Rock ’N’ Roll Hall of Fame (in 2007).

She was even nominated for a Golden Globe this year for the song “Mercy Is” from “Noah.” She lost that one, to John Legend and Common.

She also continues to tour with her longtime band for concerts that seem to get better as she ages. Her 2013 show at the Neptune was one of that year’s highlights. On Monday, she plays the Moore Theatre, the first date of her 2015 tour.

Smith played a couple of shows last December in New York City which were special enough that they are still being written about on the Internet a few weeks later. Michael Stipe of R.E.M. essentially came out of retirement to open up for her (on his set list was a cover of Seattle singer Perfume Genius). Smith’s Seattle show may attract further star power from the Northwest, as many local rockers cite her as an influence.

One of Smith’s relatively new fans the past year came as a surprise to nearly everyone: Pope Francis. The two first met last spring in St. Peter’s Square, and he invited her to sing at the Vatican Christmas Concert. The pairing seemed so odd that when it first was reported some thought it a fake story that originated at the Onion.

But it was true, though not without controversy. Some Catholics objected to Smith’s selection. Her 1975 debut album “Horses” memorably had begun with the line, “Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine.”

When Smith was asked about the Vatican show in New York in November she had a response that showed her sharp intellect, which is always apparent during her stage chatter.

“Anyone who would confine me from a line from … years ago is a fool … don’t like being pinned down, and I’ll say what the (heck) I want.”

That kind of fire, and unbridled passion, has always been there in Smith’s albums, writing, and certainly in her concerts. You’ll no doubt see that at the Moore when she kicks off this tour. That is, you’ll see it unless a guy with a big white hat sits in front of you.

Patti Smith

8:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 19, at the Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Ave., Seattle; $27.50-$42.50 (877-784-4849 or stgpresents.org).

Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: 'Banga', Concert Preview, Moore Theatre

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